Regardless of whether you choose to hire an attorney, the VA disability appeals process is notoriously slow-moving. Hiring an attorney won’t automatically speed up the process, but it can reduce unnecessary delays and increase your chances of a successful outcome.
VA Appeal Timeline
The VA has made progress on reducing wait times, but you can still expect a lengthy wait for your disability claim. It typically takes about 125 days to receive an initial decision after you submit your claim. It takes between 12 and 18 months for the Veterans Benefits Administration to review and decide on an appeal filed under the legacy appeal system and five to seven years to receive a decision from a Veterans Law Judge at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).
Individual wait times can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the number of issues being debated, so it is difficult to say with certainty how long your appeal might take. However, submitting new evidence is known to delay the process. New evidence can be submitted at any point during your appeal, but this can delay the process by inefficiently causing an additional round of reviews.
Appeals can be expedited due to terminal illness, severe financial hardship, homelessness, and advanced age. These claims are considered priority claims that must be handled before any non-priority claims—which can influence wait times for Veterans in both groups.
Hiring an Attorney Increases the Chance of a Successful Outcome
You are not required to obtain an attorney for your appeal, but having a professional available to advocate for your interests dramatically increases your chance of a successful outcome. In 2019, 46.31% of appeals were approved with an attorney, while only 26.18% were approved with no representative. Reasons to hire an attorney include:
- Ensure that all VA requests for information are responded to in a prompt fashion
- Make sure all evidence is obtained in a timely manner and that only relevant evidence is being submitted for review
- Spot weak arguments that could slow down your claim
- Make sure secondary conditions have been service-connected in the most effective way possible
Call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation to discuss how an experienced Veterans benefits attorney can assist with your VA disability appeal.